Limpopo farmers workers ready to vote
Wed, 03 Aug 2016 05:55:55
Farm workers at Marooi Citrus farm in Musina in Limpopo say they are ready to vote when voting stations open Wednesday morning.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in Musina, Limpopo has indicated that farmers in the area have agreed to release farm workers to go and vote.
Several voting stations have been set up around the Tshipise, Nwanedi, Marooi and Doreen farming areas.
The only challenge at some of the stations is lack of electricity.
IEC municipal officer Kenneth Ravhuanzo says over 46 00 voters are expected to cast their votes at 77 voting stations around the municipality including those from the des-established Mutale local municipality.
“We do have 46 596 registered voters out of 77 voting stations within the municipality. We had around 643 home visit applications of which 596 have voted. We also had 279 station visits of which 222 have already voted. So far the atmosphere is cool we have not experienced much of challenges,” adds Ravhuanzo.
Farm workers at Doreen Citrus farm were on Tuesday busy at work harvesting and transporting oranges to the main storage.
They reside on the farm in dilapidated mud houses without water and electricity.
Those who qualify to vote say they have for years been exercising their democratic rights to vote but social economic conditions remain unchanged.
They hope this time around government will do more to make sure that their livelihood on the farm improves.
“We are ready to vote but we want to be considered for service such as electricity because this is where we stay. Our plea is to be given services such as water and electricity and the house we are residing in are dilapidated,” says one farm worker.
Some of them each time they ask their employers to build them proper accommodation; the farmers tell them that their farms are under land claim through government land restitution program.
At the same time councillors tell them government cannot build those houses because farms are private properties.
“We want to see improvement like the provisioning of electricity. But each time we ask for electricity from the farm owner he tells us that he cannot develop the area anymore as the farm is under land claim. The municipality also claim it cannot develop the private property which belongs to farmers. What pains us a lot is that we do vote every year but we don’t get services,” explains another farmer.
However, the Musina municipality has indicated that there is land given by a certain farmer where low cost houses will be built for farm dwellers.
The farm owner of Doreen Citrus Farm refused to comment.
In North West, the Chairperson of Agri Potchefstroom and a representative of Agri North West who is also a farm owner, Jannie Keet says, all the farmworkers in their union will exercise their democratic right on Wednesday.
He says the farmworkers will be taken to their local voting station at Komdraai shop which is being used as a voting station.
“So everyone that can vote will go. All farm workers are registered and will be voting. I am actually going to take them myself to cast their vote. Nothing happened at our voting station on Monday and now, but from what I heard is that there was no special vote registered for this specific voting station,” explains Keet.